Free Press Journal

The DNA of a visionary


Inventive and ingenious individuals are blessed with minds capable of dreaming seemingly audacious dreams. Their drive to excel takes them to unchartered territories and frontiers where the mind pines to explore, writes Ravi Valluri

High speed trains, Maglev trains and even bullet trains appear to be passé as …. Hold your breath; Elon Musk has entered the transportation market with Hyperloop. Tesla Motors meanwhile, with the electric cars, are poised to enter the Indian car market in the near future.

Hyperloop is a proposed mode of passenger and freight transportation that propels a pod-like vehicle through a near-vacuum tube at more than airline speed –Wikipedia. Trial runs are being currently conducted between Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The flying distance between the two zillionaire cities is 105kilometres (completed in 45 minutes) while the distance traversed by road is 124.24 kilometres, a two hour drive approximately.

Upon successful implementation of the hyperloop technology the distance would be bridged and surmounted in barely nine minutes, at a much-reduced cost. Apparently, the Los Angeles – Bay Area hyperloop is envisaged at a cost of $6 billion, definitely inexpensive in comparison to high speed rails.

Elon Musk is the visionary behind path breaking ideas such as Pay Pal, Tesla Motors, Space X and Solar City. ‘Am I insane?’ he confronted Ashlee Vance, his biographer. Let us now examine the contribution of Steve Jobs to the fields of science, technology and entrepreneurship in general. He was to revolutionise six industries namely—personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing and digital publishing. Steve Jobs was dogged, almost messianic in pursuit of what appeared to be outlandish ideas.

Yet another name crops up in my mind; that of Stephen Hawking. The esteemed and pre-eminent physicist, also a renowned cosmologist and author of books like A Brief History of Time, Beyond Horizons and Fate of the Universe among others predicts humanity will cease to exist on planet earth over the next thousand years.

This apparent prophet of doom outlines climate change, global pandemics on account of man-made viruses and reduction in biological resistance of humans and lastly nuclear warfare among sparring nations as plausible reasons for this vast mass extinction of humanity from our planet.

These visionaries have suffered grave afflictions in their lives. But that did not act as a road block or handicap to the adrenaline pumping in their blood, as their souls gnawed to achieve something prodigious and spectacular.

Steve Jobs eventually succumbed to pancreatic cancer, while Stephen Hawking has been battling a motor neuron disorder with remarkable fortitude and aplomb. Elon Musk reportedly suffers from speech and vision impediments, personality disorders and learning disabilities. Musk was to contract the most virulent version of malaria called the falciparum malaria. This disease is a silent killer accounting for numerous deaths.

Yet like Hellen Keller aeons ago, the DNA of these individuals is that of a visionary. Visionaries are not mere dreamers but actualise fantasies into reality. Through prescience and insight, they plan the future with incredible wisdom and knowledge. Visionaries are also individuals who are blessed by nature with tremendous insight and intuition, almost as if able to peep into the future.

Such individuals are definitely not nondescript or prosaic characters, but animated and evocative personalities who are speculators, daring to think differently. They wade through the cobwebs which populate the mind, that deter others from taking risks in life.

Sage Ashtavakra was to say that enlightenment occurs only if a person lives in the heart. An individual needs to be innocent but not naïve, brim-full of confidence and ideas to achieve such a state. Irreproachability and freedom from any guilt transfigures a restless and febrile mind into becoming a catechizing and robust mind.

Self-confidence reinforces the ability to question the existing pattern and order, to reinvent and rediscover a fresh paradigm. Thus, the triad of qualities such as innocence, an innate ability to take gargantuan risks and self-confidence are the hallmarks of the DNA of a visionary.

But the tale of an intrepid visionary does not end in merely possessing these intrinsic qualities. To scale the summit, a visionary need to hone his skill-sets with utmost passion and intensity; accompanied by a rational and scientific thought process.

Inventive and ingenious individuals are blessed with minds capable of dreaming seemingly audacious dreams. Their drive to excel takes them to unchartered territories and frontiers where the mind pines to explore. ‘Yeh Dil Mange More,’ is the clarion call from the depths of the heart.

The litmus test of a visionary is, ‘I am not a zero but have the potential to change the contours of the world through strategically planning, scheduling and executing the most brazen-faced or impertinent ideas.’ This is the buzzword of a resourceful visionary.

Lastly, awareness is the most noteworthy attribute in the DNA of a visionary. It is the quality of awareness which makes the mind imperturbable and self-possessed. Such awareness leads to accepting people and situations as they are – a sutra of Art of Living, as imparted in the Happiness Programme designed by H. H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

Once, a Zen Master was in deep meditation when a thief broke into his home. As the larcenist was about to retreat with the spoils, the Zen Master arose from his meditative state and asked him to spare a few pennies as he was to pay his taxes the following day. The contemplation and meditation of the monk remained unruffled during the entire escapade. It is not that the quality of meditation was inferior in any manner.

The Zen Master remained tranquil, yet fully aware of the goings -on. Guruji advocates active acceptance, not passive acceptance or mere tolerance. Similarly, the Zen Master on completion of the meditation session handed over the robber to law enforcing agencies.

Deeply impressed with the persona and aura of the monk sentence, the robber became an ardent disciple of the monk upon completion of his prison term. “The tribe often thinks the visionary has turned his back on them. When, in fact, the visionary has simply turned his face to the future,” wrote Ray A Davis.